Guidelines for Comfort/Assistance/Therapy Animals

General Guidelines for Comfort/Assistance/Therapy Animals on Campus 

1. The animal will be the full responsibility of the individual, and the owner must be consistently in control of the animal. If the animal is not under control or poses a risk to the health or safety of others, then the individual may be asked to remove the animal.

2. The owner is responsible for removing or arranging for the removal of the animal’s waste. This will result in placing the waste in a closed container and then removing the container to an outdoor trash bin. Owners who live in College housing may need to designate an individual to help with clean up.

3. Individuals may be responsible for any damage that is caused by their animals.


According to Virginia law, any animal that has reached a proper level of maturity must be licensed and must display a license on its collar at all times.


Animals on campus must have an annual clean bill of health (including vaccinations and immunity shots against rabies and/or other diseases common to the type of animal) that is signed by a licensed veterinarian. A valid vaccination tag must be worn by the animal at all times.  Owners need to make sure that the animal is kept as clean as possible. Regular bathing/grooming and pest control measures also need to be performed by the owner.

Assistance Animals on Campus

Assistance animals are not permitted in campus buildings unless an accommodation has been granted.  Assistance animals may be permitted to live in on campus housing.  These requests are considered a request for accommodation.  Assistance animal accommodation requests should be made with at least 30 days' notice and are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.  Individuals must document that the animal is providing essential therapeutic benefit for the student.  For questions relating to the type of doucmentation needed and to submit documentation contact Student Accessibility Services.

Any student who wishes to challenge a decision reached by SAS in the request for accommodation may appeal to the College Compliance and Equity Office. If the Compliance and Equity Office denies your appeal, then you may not use the animal for the requested service.

If you have already signed a contract for College housing when a request for use of an animal is denied or, if you are a first-year student and you wish to be released from the requirement of living on campus during the first year, you may request to be released from contract.